On Glamour: Which Never Sleeps

Joan Collins
Glamour is an almost mythical quality that I find difficult to accurately describe- and nor can anybody else, it seems. The dictionary defines it as “sophisticated; in style  alluring, attractive; bewitching  captivating; classy; dazzling; elegant; entrancing; glossy; seductive; magnetic; siren; smart….” Phew! That’s a pretty broad sweep of a definition. And some stringent qualities to live up to. With expectations such as these, attaining glamour for some women must be akin to climbing Everest.

When I made The Stud and then The Bitch in the late seventies, I invented a look which I have stuck to  more or less ever since: big hair, smoky eyes and bright lipstick. Also, I always do my own hair or wear wigs when I’m working or going to events where I’m likely to be photographed  I can’t understand why so many women are averse to hairpieces or wigs. The amount of time they save is colossal because constant blow drying and straightening of hair is disastrous for it. 

Through the ages women have always emulated other women whose allure and style keep raising our expectations and push us harder ‘not to let the side down’. In the eighteenth century, Queen Marie Antoinette was the epitome of glamour and her court slavishly copied her gowns and hairstyles. Cleopatra also stands out as an epitome of ageless beauty, beguiling not only those of her day, but us as well. And when Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana were at the height of their popularity there were lookalikes all over the world striving to capture their particular brand of glamour. It was the same for men. The age of the dandy was really not so long ago. 

With classic outfits, excellent grooming and a strong sense of self, practically any women can become  if not a charismatic Hollywood goddess, then attractive and worthy of admiration and some envy for her unique style.


Glamour is not only about what you wear – it is also about your personality. Glamourous women seem to share something extraordinarily attractive that comes from within. It could be a serene, ethereal quality, a fiery, independent brassiness or a regal bearing, but whatever it may be glamourous women have it in spades. 

I absolutely love this book – although I don’t agree with everything she says – and it is well worth a read in full. I feel there will be some more quotes from Joan coming up in the next few months.

From The World According to Joan, Constable & Robinson (2011)